We are sure many of us have experienced both good customer service as well as bad customer service at different places. At Friendly Computer Help, we do our best to provide the best customer service we can. Good customer service leads to happy customers and happy customers are more likely to return to your business. We realize we are not perfect and cannot please everybody since it is impossible to please every customer that uses your business. Of course, there is such thing as a bad customer too, but that is a post for another time. The following is a list of what we consider good rules for customer service that we do our best to follow.
- Listen to your customers.
Listening is important in all areas of life, but especially in business. If you do not listen to your customer, they are less likely to use your business again. This includes following instructions (provided they are legal and ethical) even if you do not agree with what the customer wants. Here are some examples of listening to your customers/following instructions.
- You have a customer that insists on using a phrase that you know means something different than what they think it means. It is a good customer service to use that phrase anyway because that is what the customer wants and it keeps them happy.
- A customer asks for a design such as a giraffe, but wants it on a yellow or orange background. You know that will make it difficult to see the giraffe, but it is what the customer wants so you do it. We would not recommend using any of these types of requests as portfolio pieces though. 🙂
- If somebody asks you to redo a design so that it will show up on a certain type of material, do not just trace it because tracing something is not the same as redoing it. There are some times when using a shortcut is fine (like copy/pasting a commonly used phrase when somebody asks you to proofread or transcribe something), but shortcuts are not always a good thing.
- Do not be pushy.
This is another thing we are guessing many of us have experienced; a pushy salesperson. They try to get you to buy a specific item and if you say no, they keep trying to push you to buy it (possibly even saying you would get a discount or something if you do buy it). This generally results in either the potential customer leaving and going somewhere else or buying the product to get the salesperson off their back. Either way, the customer is not going to be happy about it and will not be very likely to come back unless your business is the only one that has what they need. This is something that a lot of big businesses do not seem to understand. Even though some people will give in to the pushiness, nobody likes being pushed into buying something.
- Be friendly and polite.
We know that this is not always easy since the occasional difficult customer is inevitable. However, it is still important to be friendly and polite to all of your customers. Friendly Computer Help’s Founder and co-owner (Michelle Russell) had a good example of a salesperson exhibiting this aspect of good customer service the other day. She was getting some portable chargers (we will have a blog about these sometime in the future) and a salesperson came up and asked her if she needed help with anything. He was not pushy at all and even said to just come and find him if she needed help with something. She told him what she had come for and that she figured she would do some research for the business as long as she was there. The employee and Michelle started chatting about different electronics, what they liked and disliked about current electronics on the market, and future electronics that will be coming out. He even offered to show her a software that came on his phone but not on hers. That is the type of customer service we like and do our best to achieve.
- Be honest.
We have seen some people who will try to say a bad product is good or that they know how to do something they do not just to make a sale. Michelle even once had somebody try to tell her that she should say she knew how to do something whether she did or not. We do not agree with that. We believe in honesty and would much rather have somebody tell us their honest opinion about a product or that they do not know something than have them lie to us. When we have somebody tell us they do not know something and then recommend somebody who is more likely to know, we will go back to that place because they were honest. We feel the same way if somebody tells us they do not think a product is very good. Granted, somebody might wonder why a place would carry a product that is not very good, but that is the decision of whoever runs that business. Sometimes, a poor quality product might be popular enough to keep it in stock because some people just want the cheapest version of something instead of a good quality version.
- Be punctual.
We all know how frustrating it can be to have to wait for an appointment that you were told would be at a certain time, but the person you have the appointment with is late. Granted, there are some things that are out of a person’s control like an accident happening in front of them or their car stalling. However, since many people have cell phones (and businesses that make service calls often have business cell phones for the employees to use when on a call), a call should be made if the person is running late. Also, that call should be made before the actual appointment time. When we go to a service call, we will call ahead if there is even the smallest chance we might run late because of some unforeseeable circumstance.
- Be patient.
This is another one that can be difficult sometimes, but it is still very important. This is one of the reasons we generally do not make very many appointments on the same day. Since everybody learns at different speeds and in different ways, it is impossible to know whether an appointment is going to take five minutes or five hours. Some people could have trouble understanding at first so it requires lots of patience to help them.
- Have a sense of humor.
Some people might not think that having a sense of important in the business world, but we believe it is. A sense of humor can ease tension and make a person more relaxed. The person mentioned in the rule about being friendly and polite exhibited this aspect as well. When he said to feel free to come find him if Michelle needed help with anything, he followed it up with “I’m not on commission”. Just make sure you remember to balance out the humor with being serious. You also probably want to stick to clean humor when in business situations and save the dirty minded humor for your personal time. 🙂
- When you make a bartering deal with somebody, make sure you uphold your end of the barter within a reasonable time frame.
Sometimes, small businesses will barter with other people or other businesses. Sometimes, it will be a free service in exchange for something like spreading the word about the business. However, some people seem to only want to barter when it benefits them, only barter for free services, or do not hold up their end of the bargain. If a business agrees to give you one free service in exchange for spreading the word, make sure you find a way to spread the word within a reasonable time frame. There are many ways to spread the word which include the many social media sites out there (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, Snapchat, etc), friends, family, and people you meet when you go places like restaurants and gyms, etc.
This is why some business might might occasionally do a free service in exchange for promotion or something the person they are bartering with is good at, but they are more likely to agree to giving a discount in exchange. If you constantly ask for free help in exchange for promoting the business instead of being willing to pay for the business, the business probably will not want to continue doing business with you. If you have an account with any social media site (especially any that you actively post on), there is no legitimate excuse (other than hospitalization or death) for not keeping spreading the word about a business you agreed to spread the word for within two to three weeks. If you ask a business for help in September in exchange for spreading the word and have not said anything in any way (whether spreading the word in person or posting on social media sites) by February, it is not likely that the business will barter with you again.
- Overestimate how long it will take to do what the the customers wants.
Sometimes things happen that we cannot control whether it be car trouble, a power outage, getting sick, etc. Since we like to allow for unforeseeable circumstances when taking on a project, we figure out the total time we think it will take us and add to that time to be on the safe side. We feel it is better to overestimate and have it done quicker than to underestimate and have something cause a delay.